We often get enquiries from people who have websites that just aren’t working for them. The two main complaints are that they either aren’t getting any website visitors (see our SEO services) or that their website gets lots of visitors but don’t get any enquiries or sales. So, what do website visitors want from your website?
Your website has to work for your visitors!
Before considering the look or content of your site, your website visitor has to be able to use it in a way that works for them. In practice, this means a few different things have to fall into place;
People have to be able to find your website easily
For existing customers, this usually means that your website should be easy to find by searching for your brand name. If you’re an established company then you will have no problem ranking highly for your own brand name. If you don’t, it’s possible that there is a Google penalty in place and you’ll need to get some specialist help to recover your rank.
For people who aren’t yet your customers, this means that your website will need to be found for searches about the type of service or product you offer. Often, website designers don’t do a great job of this. Even though they “say” that they do SEO, most really don’t. Also, as internet marketing becomes more sophisticated, it is more difficult to out-rank competitors without paying for specialised SEO work or paying for some kind of internet marketing.
Your website has to be easy for visitors to use
“User-Friendly” means different things to different users. If someone is looking at your website from a smartphone or a tablet, it will need to use responsive web design so that it is easy to use on a smaller screen. They may also want to call you directly from your website without having to remember your phone number. This is where a push to call button would come in handy!
Consider how easy your website navigation is to use. Recently I was reviewing a website with a new client and they had to point out to me that there was a “secondary” navigation bar appearing down one side in different sections of the website. It was not at all obvious. The text was small, the links weren’t underlined or even descriptive. Many links were simply a number. Most of the pages on their website would never be seen by their website visitors. Keep it simple, stupid!
Your website can’t be slow
If a website visitor has to wait 30 seconds for a home page to load just so they can see a “cool animation”, then visitors will probably never make it into your actual website. Welcome screens with animations were very popular in the early days of business websites but now they’re mostly an unwelcome distraction. Websites can also be slow if they are poorly built, hosted on cheap shared servers or have lots of large images.
Don’t get in the way of your visitors’ intentions
Website visitors don’t like anything that interrupts their reason for being there. Pop-ups are an annoying distraction that are intended to gain more users but often put visitors off your website before you have really had an opportunity to gain any loyalty from them. Consider the possibility of gaining a subscriber to the risk that they will leave for a competitor.
Website visitors aren’t just looking for contact details
This is something we hear a lot from people who don’t really understand what websites are for. Some visitors are just looking for contact details but they are generally people who have already made a decision to buy from a company they already know about. New visitors will use a website to decide whether or not they want to give their business to company A or company B. They are researching spending options. A company website is your opportunity to convince the prospective client that you are more worthy of their dollar than the other guy.
Make it clear what you do and how you can help
At Energise Web, we’re really big on “idiot-proof web design”. It’s important to make your website easy to use by showing clear examples of what you do, what you sell and how to make an enquiry or a purchase. If the path to a purchase is an obstacle course, many will fall and never cross the finish line. Make it easy for people to want your products or services.
Does your website look professional?
If Company A had a web page built by the owner’s 13yr old nephew (this really happens!) with a picture of a product and some contact details and Company B had an extensive website showing their expertise in the industry, customer testimonials, information on product care and maintenance, complementary information, photos of their premises and staff and were ranked highly because they have a good reputation online… I know which company I would call.
You don’t necessarily need online sales as it doesn’t work well for every business but “online word of mouth” is potentially more effective than offline word of mouth.